I don’t like dentists, which is probably why I have a tooth infection to begin with. The infection got so bad I was swollen all the way up to my eye. I went to my doctor. He gave me antibiotics. At first they worked. Everything stopped hurting and the swelling went down. Now, however, the swelling has started back and the pain has returned. Do I need a different antibiotic?
It sounds to me as if your doctor either doesn’t understand dental infections or is a poor communicator. What he doesn’t seem to understand is that antibiotics do not work with tooth infections. The reason is once an infection gets to the tooth the pulp dies which means no blood flow, therefore the antibiotic can’t even reach the root cause of the infection.
In cases like yours where the infection is spreading, antibiotics are used to stave off the infection. It doesn’t stop it. Your dentist has to get in there and physically remove the infected tissue. This is called a root canal treatment. Otherwise, what will happen is you’ll start to feel better as the antibiotic helps with the infection it can reach. Then, the still infected pulp starts to spread again.
Think about how close your eyes are to your brain. If your infection reaches your brain it will become life-threatening fast. 2017 had several people die from tooth infections, including a father of three young children. It always breaks my heart to hear these stories because this day and age it is totally preventable.
Dealing with Dental Emergencies
What you have would be considered a dental emergency because of the risk of dying from a tooth infection. Plus, you’re likely in pain and dentists will want to get you out of pain as quickly as possible. I’m assuming you went to your doctor because you don’t have a dentist. That’s okay, but your doctor will not be able to remove the infection. There are emergency dentists who will see you right away, even if you’re not a patient.
Contact them and let them know what’s going on. As I said above, they’ll do a root canal treatment and provide you a prescription for pain relief. Each dentist is a little different as to what they prescribe. If your emergency dentist prescribes you a narcotic, be careful. They’re quite addictive. You don’t actually have to take them as often as the pill bottle will say. Only take them as necessary and make it a goal to get off of them as quickly as possible. I recently had a dear friend become addicted to them. It nearly destroyed his family.
Who knows, you may find the dentist you see to be so good at his or her job you find a regular dentist for yourself. Best of luck to you and please don’t put this off. Not only do you risk the infection spreading but you may be too late to save your tooth at all. Then you’re stuck with expensive tooth replacement options.
This blog is brought to you by Dr. Raymond Bolt.